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China set to publish once-a-decade census results on Tuesday

Delayed data to detail changes in population, age groups, gender and ethnic distribution

 Elderly people exercise in a park in Beijing.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China's national bureau of statistics will on Tuesday publish the results of last year's once-a-decade census, Nikkei has learned.

The census, which had been planned for publication in April, is conducted every decade to show details of China's demographic changes. The seventh edition will count the total population of the vast nation, and include data such as age groups, gender, and ethnic distribution.

The census serves as a basis for financial, social security, and education policies, and will help Beijing accelerate countermeasures as population growth slows.

The statistics bureau said late last month that China's population grew last year, but did not say from what year numbers had increased. The announcement came after the Financial Times, citing people familiar with the matter, said the country was set to report that the population dropped under 1.4 billion last year -- the first decrease in five decades.

Given that past census data have allegedly been fraudulent, the delay of the publication of the results has raised suspicions that Beijing is trying to reconcile the data with that of previous years.

The release comes days after the U.S. announced it marked its slowest population growth since the Great Depression over the last decade, highlighting the demographic challenge the country will face in its rivalry with China as its citizens become older and less diverse.

The U.S. population increased to more than 331 million in 2020, growing 7.4% from 10 years earlier, for the lowest recorded rise since 1940, according to the data released by the Census Bureau in late April. 

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